A program to train personal support workers is being adapted to continue the training during this time of distancing and quarantine.

The need for more personal support workers has been known for a long time and earlier this year (in February), a partnership between the Employment Services Centre (CSEPR) and the Centre d'éducation et de formation de l'Est ontarien (CEFEO) was announced, along with $600,000 in funding. An additional $1.3 million comes from the Skills Advanced Ontario program.

The CSEPR says it is providing tablet computers and internet connections to participants who need them in order to launch the project and rapidly provide help for what is now an extremely urgent need for these workers.  Twenty-two participants will receive a shortened three-week training and will afterwards assist in Prescott and Russell residences and institutions. Once the pandemic is over, participants will return to the classroom to follow the 36-week training program which will enable them to receive their certification. The virtual training started on Monday, April 27, 2020 and will be given by CEFEO, who is our partner in this project.

"We needed to find an innovative solution to quickly train and send workers to our long-term care homes. The need was there even before the pandemic, and now it is truly and extreme emergency to provide support to our essential workers and our seniors," said Caroline Arcand, Executive Director for the Employment Services Centre. "We asked the ministry to modify our original model in order to do basic training for a few weeks to respond to the current emergency. A budget increase was also requested to allow us to provide the necessary computer equipment to registered applicants who needed it in order to follow the training virtually. I want to thank the ministry for having accepted these adjustments, but also our partner in the project, CEFEO, which had to quickly set up all the components for the virtual training to take place," concluded Caroliine ARcand.

The PSSP project was announced at the Employment Services Centre last February by Merrilee Fullerton, Member of Parliament for Kanata-Carleton and Minister of Long-Term Care on behalf of Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labor, Training and skills Development. Original funding of over $600,000 and now - a total of $ 1.3 million comes from the Skills Advanced Ontario projects. the program should have started in March, but the pandemic forced the postponement of the start date and the modification of the training model.